Highland music festival to benefit disabled adults

2013-07-17T17:30:00Z 2013-07-17T21:05:08Z Highland music festival to benefit disabled adultsLu Ann Franklin Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
July 17, 2013 5:30 pm  • 

HIGHLAND | Nine bands will take the stage Friday at Wicker Memorial Park Pavilion for a concert to benefit adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

The second annual Rockopelli show is set for 4 to 10 p.m. The concert produced by 20-year old Munster resident Joel Ratajack will raise funds for Planting Possibilities.

Founded by Mark and Mary Anne Neiner, of Munster, the nonprofit organization works to provide employment opportunities, job skills training and volunteer opportunities for adults with disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome.

The Neiner’s 23-year old son, Eric, has autism.

“Eric and I grew up together. We were next-door neighbors,” said Ratajack, who started Rockopelli in 2012. “I decided I wanted the concert to benefit the Neiners' efforts.”

Rockopelli has expanded since its July 2012 debut at the St. Thomas More School gym, featuring more acts and moving outdoors to accommodate more people, he said.

The concert will open at 3:30 p.m. Friday, and the bands will begin performing at 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased before the event for $7 each at www.plantingpossibilities.org.

“You can also buy tickets at the door for $7 until 7 p.m. At 7, the ticket price is $10 each,” Ratajack said.

The family-friendly concert also will feature kids' activities, such as face painting and a Hula-Hoop contest, he said. There will be a bean bag tournament for all ages and light refreshments.

Event organizers recommend bringing lawn chairs or blankets for seating.

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